Hey falconflier.net readers! My name is Lauren Falkenberg and for my Senior Exhibit, I chose to explore childhood cancer. I’m not sure what sparked my interest in this, considering I have no direct affiliations with childhood cancer. However, it’s something I’ve been interested in for years. When the Senior Exhibit process began, I knew that I wanted to help others and that I wanted it to be an emotional experience. My project had to be worthwhile, and I think it’s important to not avoid things (like childhood cancer) just because it can be very saddening. I had multiple difficulties trying to find a learning activity. Ideally, I wanted to be a volunteer at a summer camp or hospital. However, because I was not 18, every option I found was an issue legally. Because of this, I could not complete my learning activity during the summer. During my junior year, I completed one of my learning activities in Pennsylvania. I participated in a 5k run sponsored by St. Jude. However, I knew I also wanted to take a different approach toward childhood cancer. I researched support groups in the area and found one in Virginia called “Special Love”. I drove down there and had a meeting with the head of the company, Dave Smith. There I really realized how important it was to show childhood suffering from cancer, as well as their families, that there are people out there who care about them. Dave told me stories that inspired me to want to do something really amazing for these kids. When deciding on applications, I sort of knew what I wanted to do. At this point, I could see that my project was splitting in two directions, but with the same purpose: support. The first part focused on St. Jude. Not only did I run in Pennsylvania, but I also helped Lisa Diskin create her Give Thanks Walk last November. Then I decided to create a walk of my own called A Walk to Remember. It has been one of the most stressful, yet rewarding experiences. The second part to my project really focused on the intimacy and emotional aspect of childhood cancer. I interviewed many FA students who have had family members suffer from cancer, and I gained perspective about what it was really like for them, and what they learned from it. I then found out about Dominic Beltran, a young boy suffering from Neuroblastoma- a nervous system cancer. I found out about Dominic through a family friend, and immediately wanted to help the family out. I figured it would be a perfect application to my knowledge gained from talking to Dave and everyone at FA. I got in contact with the mother, and I have visited Dominic a few times to play with him while he is battling cancer. We play bayblades, puppets, cars, anything you could imagine. One day he gave me a little wind up chic, and it reminds me everyday of him and how lucky I am to have my health. Right now he is in New York City receiving treatment. Unfortunately, his cancer has spread. If he feels better, he will be at my walk, and he will lead all of the walkers. A Walk to Remember is dedicated to Dominic- and it would mean so much to me that he is there to see how many people care about him. Regardless of if he comes, I know the walk will be a huge success. This whole process is the most stressful thing I have ever done, but I have learned so much about myself and about what is important in life. I hope to inspire others to do good in the world, and to follow their passions like I did.